Handicapping Your Elite MBA Odds: Mr. Freddie Fannie

Mr. 2+2

  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in finance and statistics from a top 50 private liberal arts university
  • Work experience includes five total internships, including three investment banking gigs, including one at a bulge bracket i-bank and a cross-border M&A boutique, and a hedge fund stint during a sophomore winter
  • Extracurricular involvement as the president of the student-run investment club, founder of the Wall Street Club, treasurer of a social fraternity, and played two club sports
  • “Initially went to said school for their performing arts/music program (classical piano), changed major from music performance to finance + stats at the end of my freshman fall semester”
  • Goal: Investment management (Long/short equity hedge fund or event-driven/activist funds)
  • 21-year-old white male in final year of undergraduate school

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 20% to 30%

Sandy’s Analysis: You may be flying into the 2+2 Bermuda Triangle. That is the great irony that gung-ho and accomplished 2+2ers in finance often find themselves when they fail to get admitted to 2+2. And if they do, well they are often Ivy dudes with shiny platinum stats who are admitted hopefully to keep them away from another B-school down the road.

You are a gung-ho 2+2er with gold-plated stats: To wit, an OK but not 3.9 GPA, 740 but not 760 GMAT, non-Ivy schooling, and yes, great internships, and lots of them, which may bite you as being both too much and part of your overdetermined, wonky story, alas.

Let me make it real clear, I LIKE YOU FINE. The likely outcome here is that to HBS in 2+2 mode, you may appear to be a finance wonk who they may admit down the road, and will certainly spin around for several minutes in their great, white, male, finance vanilla-malted machine to see if you float to the top. Many do, but not all.

When that time comes, let me stress the super importance of applying Round 1.

You say, “EC’s: – President of student-run investment fund – Founder of Wall Street Club (financial modeling classes, etc.)”

They say (in private), GAG. And also this, “Initially went to (my college) for their performing arts/music program (classical piano), changed major from music performance to finance + stats at the end of my freshman fall semester.”

Here is some more very tough love: From a business school POV, you would be a WAY more attractive candidate if you stuck with classical piano and had just taken a lot of finance jive, sort of on the side or as a minor. That, a 3.9, half of your powerful internships, and even keeping the 740 GMAT, plus some great performing stories, is a ticket to 2+2.

How come? Take a gander at this essay, “Being admitted to 2+2 will give me the freedom to explore jobs that address my real passion, how to finance artistic performance, including symphony orchestras, instead of taking more conventional jobs on Wall St. etc.”  Well, that is a bit basic and needs to be spun, but you get the idea.